Humor columns written in 1978-79 for Okinawa Passtime – the English TV guide for us Americans.

The Okinawan PO Phenomenon

Here on Okinawa there is what is called the po phenomenen. Po is post­ office; the phenomenon is the strange behavior of the patrons. Since most of the Americans here are military, each newcomer becomes quickly familiar with the terrain of the po. At our po we have approximately 25,000 boxes, 25,000 empty boxes, that is. Ours seemed the emptiest at first. By the end of the first couple of…

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Fighting the Bull

I recently had the challenge of attending an Okinawan bullfight. My advance information held that fight would start at noon, and admission was 1000 yen per person. When I awoke that rainy Sunday, I began wondering if the bullfight would even be held that day. I decided to play it safe and go. Safe, yes, dry, no. When I arrived at the stadium, I saw no cars or evidence of any activity. I stopped at the food truck and asked in Japanese, "Where is the bullfight"? The lady answered with sign language - holding up her fingers like bull horns in question. I answered hai, continuing my attempt at conversation in Japanese. She pointed up a small hill to my left. (I later realized that I never need my Japanese to ask my question. So much for my conversational Japanese lessons!)

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Exercising – Okinawan Style

After several months’ observation of the exercise habits of Okinawans, American and native, I’ve come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for the partici­pants and the spectators: The primary rule-ichiban-is to ignore the weather, especially the rain. All sports can and do continue when the rain begins no matter what the temperature.

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The Okinawan Detour

Just recently I remarked to a newcomer that the jam-up American traffic jam does not occur here on Okinawa. I went on to say that traffic moves slowly at times, but I had never seen it come to a total halt. I had an adventure this week which led me to revise my thinking on Okinawan traffic. It's called the "Okinawan detour." Riding along a busy four lane recently, I…

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Every so often I get to comparing driving a car here on Okinawa to what I was used to back in the States. The usual car is rather small compared to our average American car. My son, in fact, calls them "race cars" and he has a point. Quite often I feel like I'm in the Indy 500. I'm not saying we drive fast here, Mama, actually compared to 1-75…

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The Circus

A couple of weeks ago I foolishly told my son about the circus with the elephants, lions, clowns, the smell of popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy. He was excited about the idea, (so was I!) and I promised him we would go. The first objective was to buy ticket - a nerve racking experience. The Thursday before, I attempted to buy them at the USO on base. "Sorry, all…

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Your request for the phone number in our new home made me take a moment to reflect on the "phones" here on Okinawa. I'm sorry, Mama, but we have no phone. Not only that but we won't be able to get a phone off base. "What no phones?" I know it sounds un-American and even foolhardy, but to install a phone is to invite financial ruin (in­stallation costs one arm,…

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